Fort Point is a National Historic Site, with a heritage museum, park and picnic area that is run by volunteers. It’s situated off the beaten path just enough that you may miss it when driving by, but interpreters, Gray Star and Madison McBain think it’s well worth a stop and encourage locals and visitors to come check out its treasures. “People should come here! It dives into the history of the area and keeps it alive”, says Madison. Gray added that, “Many people don’t even know that it exists and the area is so rich in history. It’s even the site of a chapel that served as the first school in New France!”
The museum celebrates the area’s Mi’kmaq heritage and tells the story of their historic use of the land and rivers around Petite and LaHave. European settlement of Canada began with Fort Point, when Isaac Razilly established LaHave as the first capital of what was then called New France, in 1632. It was the beginning steps of Acadian history in Canada. Displays in the museum also capture the daily life of early English and German settlers.
The building on site was once a lighthouse keeper’s home and is part of Nova Scotia’s proud lighthouse heritage. The original lighthouse, which was demolished in 1954 was, according to Gray, replaced by an automated lighthouse. You can see a small replica pepperpot style lighthouse on site, that reflects the lighthouse history. The building’s LaHave Room has interesting exhibits that represent the stories of settlers who became established in the area in the early 1700’s up to the 20th century. You’ll see shipping displays and a small exhibit of the LaHave Ferry among others.
What do the two interpreters like most about Fort Point? Gray enjoys the museum’s artifacts. His favourites are the musket and cannon. Madison says that, “Meeting so many different people is amazing. They have stories to add!”
The museum has a charming little gift store with art and crafts from local artisans. On the grounds there’s a French style garden and picnic tables that look onto a beach and the scenic LaHave River.
There are a few upcoming opportunities to enjoy this National Site and community park. On August 17 there’s a Live History Show with dessert and coffee ($20/ticket. Reservations Required). On August 20 you can enjoy a potluck supper and listen to speaker, Peter Oickle talk about “Murders in Lunenburg County.” September 1 is the 14th Annual Folk Festival with an outdoor concert and musical acts. On September 17 the monthly potluck will feature Bob Sayer, who will talk about the “Mi’Kmaq in the LaHave”. See fortpointmuseum.com for more details.
The museum’s Board is made-up of talented local volunteers, who are always looking for new members. If you’re interested, call Ruth Seamone at 902-688-2437.
Next time you are in LaHave be sure to visit this National Treasure! It’s located on 100 Fort Point Road, LaHave and is open June 1-September 1 from 10 am – 5 pm daily. To reach Museum staff call 902- 688-1632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.